JERUSALEM – The Israel Defense Forces are trying to synchronize and modify units as part of their new multiannual plan that includes a multi-dimensional battlefield, an IDF official told Defense News in a background briefing.
Israel’s new concept is designed to prepare the country for these transformations so that it is ahead of its competitors in terms of field technology. As part of this approach, Israel conducted its first multi-tiered integrated air defense exercise in December 2020, and local defense companies like Rafael Advanced Defense Systems are integrating more artificial intelligence and automatic target detection capabilities into their platforms.
When Israel talks about multi-dimensional maneuvers on the battlefield, the official examines how other armed forces like the US Marine Corps use a variety of platforms and resources that go beyond the idea of infantry, armor, navy and air forces as separate services. This is the most significant change currently taking place at the IDF, the official said, and as a conscript-based military, the country is finding it difficult to maintain this type of interdisciplinary approach.
The Israeli military consists not only of conscripts but also of a large reserve, and the IDF tries to train these personnel in the same way as new recruits, using the new doctrine and the latest technology. The official said the focus is now on the individual soldier transforming the war fighter’s training and use of technology.
It’s not about training troops on how to better capture a particular hill, the official added, but about how the restrictions and requirements on the battlefield have changed, and how the recruits have changed in terms of their technological experience . A particular restriction is the time when soldiers only serve as conscripts for a few years.
Due to the time constraint, Israel is using simulators and new technology to get better results in war games and apply that knowledge to the next real conflict. The IDF has re-simulated many of its brigades over the past year and is using “human performance optimization” to develop training through understanding neuroplasticity – the method by which tools are used to understand how the brain works, IDF officials said during the briefing.
While Israel has state-of-the-art platforms in its new warship Sa’ar 6 and its F-35 jets, the platforms that ground forces need for future combat have yet to arrive and the land warfare challenges are clear, the said Officer. At the infantry level, the military must adapt to the skills of its young recruits.
In other words, while the infantryman is still going into battle with a rifle, today’s war fighter joins the army with experience in smartphones and other technologies that predecessors were unfamiliar with. The aim of the IDF is to take the same shooter and make that person the platform himself so that the war fighter can use the latest technology right away.
Another challenge facing the IDF is the number of casualties, as reported in the wars of the 1960s and 1970s, according to the briefing. That is, the IDF wants a decisive victory, but without the losses of the 1967 war in which Israel lost about 800 soldiers.
Israel knows that its enemies understand this challenge and that current opponents do not face Israel face-to-face in a conventional conflict. Instead, militants sometimes use underground links and fight among civilians to attack the weakest links in Israel.
One solution is Israel’s use of technology to find and expose enemies. This also means that the individual soldier fighting small insurgent units needs to know that their rifle isn’t the only weapon available – there is also instant access to air cargo, ships, and more. The idea is that the war fighter has all of these skills within reach. So when that person makes a decision about what and how to use it, this technology is available with the click of a finger.
However, minimizing casualties among civilians is also a concern of the military. The IDF is faced with the task of finding enemy forces in dense civilian areas. In response, the military is looking for ammunition with improved accuracy.
Implementing these new concepts on the battlefield also means, for example, more drones and the use of computerized tablets. The official also said Israel is focusing specifically on AI to enable technology to think and calculate various options that soldiers can use in multi-dimensional maneuvers, as well as missiles that can more accurately identify targets in flight using AI and electro-optics .